The Art of PvE: Intelligence

“The earliest known Principles of War were documented by Sun Tzu, circa 500 BCE. Machiavelli published his “General Rules” in 1521. Henry, Duke of Rohan established his “Guides” for war in 1644. Marquis de Silva presented his “Principles” for war in 1778. Henry Lloyd proffered his version of “Rules” for war in 1781 as well as his “Axioms” for war in 1781.Then in 1805, Antoine-Henry Jomini published his “Maxims” for War version 1, “Didactic Resume” and “Maxims” for War version 2. Clausewitz wrote his version in 1812 building on the work of earlier writers.”

Wikipedia

If you take a look at the many war doctrines espoused over written history, from Sun Tzu to Carl von Clausewitz, there are certain principles that recur. They have been expressed in slightly different ways, but they all boil down to some fairly common sense rules. Have more offensive ability than your enemy has defensive. Concentrate on what’s important. Keep it simple. And my favorite, don’t give the enemy an advantage by your own ignorance. This is summarized with the single word “security” in Field Manual 3-0 of the United States Army, as well as the British Defense Doctrine of 2011. Russia refers to it as Information Warfare. Sun Tzu called it “the use of spies,” which has been translated in modern Chinese doctrine as Intelligence and Espionage.

How is this relevant to EVE Online? For a care-badger, it is everything. As anyone knows who reads this blog regularly, I am currently running level IV security missions for the Sisters of Eve. This awards me LP which I use to by blueprints for the new SoE ships. I foresee doing this until CCP decides to nerf the Bastion module, or announces something more interesting to play at.

There are some dangers in running level IV security missions though. First, you are in a big, expensive ship. It would look good on anyone’s kill board. Second, that ship is fit for fighting rats efficiently, not surviving (let alone winning) PvP actions. Third, you are actually making good ISK; many feel it’s easier to take candy from a baby/parent than to to do anything worthwhile with their lives.

“But I’m running missions in high-sec, I can’t be attacked,” you say. You think if someone attacks you CONCORD will stop them? This is EVE Online. If you want to succeed, you need to stop believing such fairy tales. Nowhere is 100% safe except your Captain’s Quarters. If that’s where you want to play EVE Online don’t let me stop you. I firmly believe in freedom of choice. But if you are part of the 99.̅9̅ % who don’t play this game just for the Captain’s Quarters, you need to understand you are never safe – especially in high-sec. In fact, not only are you in grave danger, but you’ll be blown up with no recourse – no kill rights awarded and no option for revenge.

The first step in understanding how this can be is to do some intelligence gathering – thus the title of this post. We have perhaps the greatest tool in all gaming to assist us: the EVE Online API. Use it. When you decide to play the PvE game, you need to understand the space you will be playing in. If there are 250 people in local, as was the case in Apanake yesterday, you’d better not leave dock until you have some idea of who they are and what they’re doing. You need to do a risk assessment. You’re best source for that information is one of the kill board services. I personally use EVE-Kill.net. I used to use Battleclinic.com a long time ago, but their search options do not provide what I need. I need this:

This is a system search using EVE-Kill. It shows kill mails generated in a specific system. I am certain this is a ‘duh’ for many of you. However, I know there are some for whom this is new. It is to them I write this post, because I don’t want you to become that poor dumb ass in the Paladin shown above. Here’s the link to the kill mail. For the price of a Tornado, that gank squad have a 3 billion ISK kill mail on their record. Do you need any better proof of danger point #1 above?

And what’s more, the worse any of those involved got as punishment was a suspect timer – notice there are no CONCORD kills during or right after the Paladin kill. The schmuck who lost the Paladin probably got nothing but heart burn over the incident. The clue as to why is all over the rest of the page. Look at all those Mobile Tractor Units (MTU) destroyed. What’s up with that?

What’s up is anyone can shoot at them without CONCORD interference. All the shooter gets is a suspect flag. Read about it here (#8) and here. He hasn’t actually shot at the Paladin so no CONCORD intervention required. However, he did shoot at the property of the pilot. That’s the point. Either the Paladin pilot was dumb enough to shoot him, or his drones were set to aggressive mode. When the MTU is shot, the drones react by attacking the ‘hostile’ just like they attack rats. Either way, that makes the engagement consensual. That’s when the original suspect’s buddies/alts all pile on. It’s a free kill at that point.

Now, is this a bug? Not really. It’s been the case for a long time (a year isn’t it) that shooting a suspect makes for consensual PvP in high-sec. The drones are just doing what you told them to do – attack anyone ‘hostile’ to you. But carebear ignorance of engagement rules is giving gank players undeserved PvE ship kills and bloating their worthless kill boards. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel, but some people get off on that sort of feckless activity. A pilot like Rixx Javix, Drackarn or Repard Teg can be proud of their records. High-sec gank kill boards are a joke and every one of them an A.J. Dicken. They’re an insult to real PvP pilots in my book, and only us high-sec mission runners can preserve their honor… by not getting assploded by the asshats.

Now that you know about it, it’s fairly easy to avoid getting blown up. Here’s how you stay out of trouble.

  1. Make certain your safety is set to green. This should always be your default in high-sec.
  2. Make certain your drones are set to passive. Click on the three horizontal lines in the upper left corner and click “Passive” so the radio button is filled (see picture.) You can order drones to fight by selecting a target and pressing “F.”
  3. If someone shows up in your mission site uninvited, pull your drones in AND DO NOT TARGET THEM. Do not shoot rats while they are present.
  4. Empty your Mobile Tractor Unit and scoop it to your cargo hold. If you are too far away, don’t worry about it. It’s only loot. There’s more where it came from.
  5. Don’t “talk” to the interloper. Just keep your mouth shut. Talking to them only eggs them on and gives them an opportunity to try and enrage you. There is no point in talking to them, so don’t.
  6. If they start to shoot your wrecks, let them. If you want to make a statement, shoot your own wrecks. Be careful, you don’t want to inadvertently shoot them. But shooting your own wrecks gets the point across to them faster than anything. It says, “I’m not playing your game.”
That’s all you have to do. Don’t shoot back and wait them out. They’ll get bored in short order. When you won’t fall for their shenanigans, they’ll go find someone else to bother. Those types lack the patience to wait when it’s obvious you’re in it for the long haul. Patience is your best weapon when faced with these types. Now go make some ISK!
Fly Careful

16 comments on “The Art of PvE: Intelligence

  1. Press the [ESC] key when logged into the game. Click on the General Settings tab. In the middle column there is a section named “Inflight.” Set the “Auto Target Back” option under “Inflight” to “0 Targets.” This will keep your ship from automatically targeting back anyone who targets you.

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  2. VERY good point! This is also the norm in the fleets I've flown in. That way you only target what the FC tells you to target keeping your target “list” clean.

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  3. Another thing a newer player can do to ensure a step in between firing and concordokken (or PvP fit vs a PvE) is turn off target back. That way they are forced to lock the interloper manually. Helps stop the F1 oooopses…..

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  4. I think your missing the point which is surprising as an industrialist. You are not really getting that t1 mods and salvage for “free.” There is a cost involved, which translates as the time you spend on obtaining the salvage. In eve as elsewhere, time is money. You can make more isk by blitzing and foregoing the salvage. If you really need the salvage buy it with buy offers off the market.

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  5. That would be why I added the “/parent” to that old idiom. I'm taking candy from our parent, CCP, at least until the nerf the Bastion Module. I have no quarrel with that description.

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  6. “As for the MTU, why in the world would anyone be salvaging their missions?”

    1. Because I reprocess the cheap loot into minerals that I then don't have to buy to build SoE ships with. That raises my profit margin on the ship by millions of ISK.
    2. Because even some T1 loot is good to have, like meta 4 scrams and points. I don't have to spend millions of ISK on the market because I can get a faint Faint Epsilons and Fleeting Propulsion Inhibitors for free.

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  7. Your taking candy from a baby comment in regards to folk committing pvp against mission runners is funny. Many folk would consider the use of a marauder in its current state on l4s the pve equivalent of taking candy from a baby. Essentially l4s are an unlimited isk faucet where there is no risk to the marauder pilot from the mission rats. Given that eve is premised upon risk v. reward, its a good thing that the players have stepped in to provide a measure of risk so as to control the herds of pve'rs before things get out of hand.

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  8. Isn't still that you do not necessarily see concord kills unless someone whores on it and posts the kill or the “victim” of the kill posts it themselves – either manually or by having submitted their api to a KB? They probably just did not post the loss mails.

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  9. Perhaps. I did investigate that possibility.The guys who dropped on the Paladin are a WH corp. It may have been opportunistic rather than planned. However, there are no CONCORD kills on the gankers so the Paladin had to have “consensually” agreed to combat. The single person (with alts) corporation the pilot belongs to has no current wars declared. So the post still applies to this loss. He shouldn't have been dumb enough to lose the Paladin.

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  10. You might add the suggestion to keep an cloaky alt on grid to scoop mission objective items so that they can't be stolen and ransomed. The cloaky alt can also scoop the MTU if necessary.

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  11. Normally I think that the advice you give is spot on especially when your talking about industry matters, but here, even though what you are saying is accurate, its just bad. As a HS pve'r, even using a marauder, you should never become the victim of a gank unless you over bling your ship. There was a great article recently at http://themittani.com/features/alod-return-investment that discussed this exact point. You do not need bling to complete lvl 4s in a timely and cost efficient manner and if you use a lot of bling, you will be ganked sooner or later regardless of the steps that you take. They will use neut alts, a log in trap, catch you on a gate or a station, etc. . . Your only real defense is to make yourself an unattractive target – so no bling. As for the MTU, why in the world would anyone be salvaging their missions? Blitz them and you will earn for isk/hr and not run the risk of some joker shooting your MTU, cause you don't use one.

    Oh and HS pvp is just as fun and “honorable” as anything that happens in lowsec and null. Eve is about asymmetrical combat. Just about everyone in eve, only engages in combat they think they are going to win. There is nothing romantic or honorable about blobs, hotdrops, bubbles, and fighting folk of different ship classes. Its all one.

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  12. I am surprised someone hasn't tried to ambush with Recon 3/3. You'd need multiple ships. One to place the mobile tractor beyond the gate. Then a couple of decent bumping ships at the warp-in. The 800-1200 pulse omni-damage will kill anything not actively tanked if bumped long enough.

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